The United States Department of transport has allowed Pakistan International airlines to operate up to 12 special relief flights directly to the United States. This will be the first time in history when PIA will be operating non-stop flights to the United States. But it is important to note that this is an interim decision to facilitate stranded passengers in both countries.
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Pakistan International Airlines has formally requested US authorities to allow it to operate non stop flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis. In 1961 PIA started flying to the united states via London Heathrow using its newly acquired Boeing 707 aircraft. PIA wet-leased a Boeing 707 from Pan American Airlines. Initially, this plane was flown by PanAm pilots, thereby making PIA the first Asian airline to induct and commercially operate a jet aircraft in its fleet. An all-Pakistani crew began operation of the 707 from 20 June 1960 onwards.
2 PIA aircraft that are allowed to enter the US
- Boeing’s model B777-240LR, serial number 33781 (registration number AP-BGY)
- Boeing model B777-240LR, serial number 33782 (registration number AP-BGZ)
With the newly acquired aircraft, the airline introduced its first trans-Atlantic route Karachi-New York via London on 5 May 1961. Before the 9/11 attacks, PIA planes did not have the capacity to fly directly to the US, which is why they had to make a stop somewhere. But after 9/11 US authorities did not allow PIA to resume direct flights because of security reasons. In 2004 PIA received its first Boeing 777s that technically enabling it to operate nonstop transatlantic flights. In February and march of 2006, PIA received its pair of Boeing 777-200 LR (Lone range) aircraft. With the specific intention of flying non stop to the US. Both wordliners AP-BGY and AP-BGZ are only be allowed to operate these special flights.
According to a letter by the US Department of Transportation, dated April 29, PIA will be allowed to operate twelve round-trip or one-way passenger or cargo flights. The permission will expire on April 29, 2021.